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News: Boating

New Repower: See Her Go: SAIAB’s 13-metre Research Vessel Ukwabelana With Her New DF325s

Subtitle: Watch the vid that got everyone excited and why uKwabelana captain and crew chose to upgrade to Suzuki DF325s in the repower of this 13-metre boat

“The new outboards are just awesome, the boat’s got more life now, so much more oomph,” says Koos Smith, skipper of marine research vessel uKwabelana. This after the boat’s repower by Nauti-Tech Suzuki, where we fitted two new Suzuki DF325s to the 13-metre powered cat.

“Oh, it’s definitely a step up. We used to have 300 Suzukis on, and we’ve tried other brands of outboards too, but it was just a matter of preference. And the whole team agreed that we need to go back to Suzuki outboards. And getting the 325, well, that’s just such a welcome change.”


The best things come in twos. Dual louvre, dual prop, dual injection and the efficiency of a 300hp packed into the power of a 325. Check out the two DF325s we fitted to a 13-metre powered cat research vessel for the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Makhanda, Eastern Cape recently. Read all about it here: Plus: More on the Suzuki DF325 here: #GetNauti

Posted by Nauti-Tech Suzuki on Thursday, 23 May 2019

Those are two Suzuki DF325s powering a massive 13-metre scientific research vessel that’s usually loaded with equipment and spends up to 10 hours out at sea, almost every day of the year.


And Koos knows what he’s talking about around boats and outboards, too. He does this for a living. Koos has been the skipper of uKwabelana since 2012. And she’s big for a powered cat, some 13 metres in length, and she works very hard. Being a research vessel, she often carries a lot of equipment, from measuring instruments and computers to remote-controlled submarine robots. And she’s out there on the water nearly every day.

“We’ll use the boat to track fish movements, measure plankton, larvae and barnacles. A whole lot of things,” says Koos. “And we’ll often make trips out to various specialised receivers underwater in specific places along the coastline. So, for us, we usually need to get out to a receiver, where we’ll stay for about half an hour, and then move on the next one. We go, then stop, and go, all day long.”

Ukwabelana SAIAB Research Boat Outboard Repower Suzuki DF325 by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

And it’s not just the odd trips either. Koos says that uKwabelana is out nearly every day. And they can be out at sea for up to 9 or 10 hours a day.


The research vessel is owned by the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), who provides the practical platforms for scientists in South Africa and the world to gather data on freshwater and oceanic life. (In fact, that’s where the boat’s name comes from: uKwabelana is Zulu for “to share”, as in “a boat for all of our benefit”.)

SAIAB is perhaps best known for their work continuing research on the Coelacanth, but you’ll find them helping scientists track everything from SA blue whales to sharks and fish populations and even plankton along our coastline. See some of the amazing things SAIAB does on their website.

Ukwabelana SAIAB Research Boat Outboard Repower Suzuki DF325 by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

“Universities and scientists from all over the world will apply to SAIAB for ‘boat time’, where we use uKwabelana to go out and gather the data or samples they need,” says Koos. So they’re busy virtually all the time. Koos even says that they go out and check every underwater receiver, which tracks tagged fish, every four months.


The SAIAB contracted Nauti-Tech Suzuki to repower uKwabelana, knowing that she needs the perfect balance of powerful performance, reliability and efficiency for those long days out on the water. And Koos and his team got together and reviewed all their options, deciding eventually that they need to go with Suzuki.

They used Suzuki 300s in the past and even tried out a few other outboard brands. But eventually, they opted for the new Suzuki DF325.

Ukwabelana SAIAB Research Boat Outboard Repower Suzuki DF325 by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

“It’s such a welcome change. It’s like the boat’s just come to life. That dual prop and better systems just mean she has more oomph now. And from what I’m seeing so far we’re using a lot less fuel than before. And, in terms of function, I just like that everything works so well,” Koos concludes.

Ukwabelana SAIAB Research Boat Outboard Repower Suzuki DF325 by Nauti-Tech Suzuki—-


See all out recent boat repowers.

Check out our Suzuki outboards and enquire about boat repowers.

Also see the new DF80s we fitted in the recent repower of Zee Koets and the DF100s we fitted the Ace Cat 555 Jubal.

Plus: Did you know we also do boat refurbs? Check out the before and afters on the new-look Line-Breaker and discover our quality-assured used boats for sale.

Discover more new Suzuki outboards and the advanced new tech like Suzuki Lean Burn that gives you more power and helps your boat save fuel.

And check out the outboards we fitted on the first boat for shark cage diving in PE and be there when the first humpbacks arrive in Algoa Bay at the Port Elizabeth Whale Festival.

Plus: What happens when you fit two 140s on a 6.7-metre boat specced for max 115? Find out with recently launched brand-new boat Seadation.

Also check out Robin Vermaak’s all-new CarryCat 760 game fisher, Piromero.

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Plus: See all our custom-built new boats and all our favourite new launches under our full collective post on our boats.

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Legend also has it that CarryCats and every other boat runs better under Suzuki power. Discover it for yourself among these Suzuki outboard motors.

Suzuki Lean Burn Control System, Fuel Economy Outboard Technology by Nauti-tech Suzuki


Legend has it that it’s more fun fishing in a CarryCat. So tell your friends who might not know yet to check out the little-big CarryCat 670, the next-level CarryCat 740 and the all-round great fisher CarryCat 760.

CarryCat 740 New 7 metre Ski Boat For Sale by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

Discover more specs, options and configurations for bass boats, riverboats and ski boats under our section on new boats in South Africa.


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